Your average consumer is exposed to over 4,000 marketing messages a day, 3,900 of which are for Dunkin Donuts, Taco Bell, or KFC, and I bet just reading that sentence made you instantly need a cup of joe or a hot greasy snack.
Amongst all that noise, how can a newsletter help your messages stick better than your competitors, and what purpose do newsletters really serve?
A newsletter is an effective tool that can accomplish many goals, and even with the advent of blogging, Twitter, E-zines, and Megan Fox, hardcopy newsletters still prove to be successful in marketing and business growth. And here’s why:
1. Free Advertising: Above all else, newsletters constitute comprehensive and mostly free advertising for your company. And if you’re really desperate for cash flow, sell advertising in the margins to Google, since they will probably end up buying out your company anyway.
2. You Control It:Unlike any kind of paid ad, YOU completely control the content, design the length/format, and control the distribution. You don’t, however, control what they might use a drab newsletter for, such as kindling, lining the litter box, or their child’s art project.
3. Localize Your Messages:If your company has products or services that differ by region, newsletters can be sent to separate areas with custom messages for each target market. For instance, market your new Internet dating service for nerds to Silicon Valley, not Palm Beach.
4. Inform:An effective and professional newsletter can provide company news to current and prospective clients, such as promotions, new hires, new services, and recent successes. Feel free to also share your latest theory about why Hurley on Lost can actually gain weight on a deserted island.
5. Update:A newsletter can also provide industry updates and useful information to consumers, such as:
a. Tips from the Top: Quotes, interviews, and Q&A’s with industry experts and leaders.
b. Calendars: Special events, industry-related holidays to be aware of, and milestones.
c. Resources: Websites of the week, book reviews or suggestions, and lists of services.
d. Your own version of the Lemonade Diet, which involves pouring lemonade onto anything you feel guilty eating.
6. Keep In Touch:It keeps you in touch with your clients, and is a great way to communicate with them for feedback, market research, and customer service. Probably a bit more effective than just sending them a birthday card from Someecards.com that says, “Congratulations on not dying last year.”
7. Expand Client Base:Newsletters can help expand your client base by having more than just a stagnant brochure to send potential customers seeking more information. Alternatively, turn them into paper planes to spread word of the latest office politics scandal.
8. Get The Word Out:It is a great way to get word out for a contest, and a newsletter contest can generate impressive interaction with current and potential clients. Maybe don’t auction off yourself as a date though.
9. Expertise:A professional newsletter with breaking or unique news/information can establish you as an expert in your field. Or create a whole bunch of rewards and stories about how you ‘won’ them.
10. Feedback:Reaction to your newsletter can offer perspective on whether you are targeting the correct demographic or audience with the proper messages. Can also help Nigerian Princes fine tune their pitch asking for $5,000 to help transfer $30 million from an offshore account that they’ll gladly share with you.
11. Branding:Newsletters with unique format and content can be an effective way to create, direct, and reinforce your company identity and brand. Try creating your own version of the Dancing Baby, infamous LOL Cat, or the thing from those Quiznos commercials.
12. Website Resource:Websites and newsletters go hand in hand – the newsletter can drive more visitors to your website, and browsers can download the latest newsletter from the homepage. Or when business drops, turn your homepage into a dating site and use the newsletter to send out member profiles.
13. Build Relationships:They can build long-term and ongoing relationships with buyers, sellers, members, vendors, freelancers, consultants, sister companies and former employees. Just not ex-significant others you used to stalk in college.
14. Offer Exclusive Deals:Sales, coupons, and special deals can be offered exclusively through the newsletter or anyone on the subscription list. Also a chance to advertise your old Garbage Pail Kids cards or GI Joe action figures.
15. Not Spam!They give you a reason to contact your client base without seeming like spam. Don’t get cocky though, anything sent to an in-box more than once a week is an invitation for Bill Gates to issue a federal anti-spam warrant for your soul.
16. A Dynamic Business Card:A hardcopy newsletter can serve as a business card and is a must have for conventions, inter-company meetings, and travelling for business. Try rolling them up and placing them in bottles to throw into the ocean for some really great outreach.
17. Evaluate Company Direction:A company with a consistent newsletter can use them to look back and see the direction the company is moving in, and if recent results were aligned with company goals for growth. Or they can be used as evidence in your next class action lawsuit.
Now the question isn’t why should you have a newsletter…it’s why don’t you have one!